It’s important to root out the causes of disputes
Luo Zhilong, 47, chief judge at a domestic tribunal at Yong’an District People’s Court in Sanming, Fujian province.
Most judges, including myself, hope to conclude domestic cases, such as property allocation, as quickly as we did in the past, but also to eradicate errors. In the past, some disputes were not resolved satisfactorily, which often caused rancor to linger between divorced couples or even prompt further disputes.
Last year, the Supreme People’s Court selected 30 courts across the country, including mine, to participate in a pilot program that explored new ways of resolving domestic disputes. For example, we have been asked to impose cooling-off periods for divorcing couples and to invite psychologists to offer assistance to them and their children.
In my opinion, the pilot aims to identify the causes of domestic disputes and minimize the harm to children whose parents are divorcing, instead of just solving cases from the purely legal perspective.
For example, last year, a colleague told me about a man whose wife had filed for divorce. The man often disturbed my colleague when he was working on his case, and once even followed him home. I was a little unnerved by the news, so I decided to make enquiries into the man’s family life and behavior before I made a ruling on the case.
I visited the man’s community and spoke with some of his neighbors. I also asked for a psychological profile to be drawn up. As a result, I discovered that the man had a bad temper, a type of mental disorder caused by excessive alcohol consumption, and he was unwilling to give up on his marriage.
The psychological tests indicated that he was not capable of raising two children on his own.
I explained his situation to his wife, and persuaded her not to leave her young children. After she understood the roots of their dispute and agreed to a cooling-off period for deeper reflection, she agreed to return to the family home and look after the children.
Family harmony relates to national stability. The higher the quality of verdicts given in such disputes, the greater the benefit to society.
However, all of this takes a great deal of time, and, given the rise in the number of disputes, adds to our burden. In response, I think a new evaluation standard should be established for judges who handle domestic cases.